TPU scientists establish a link between composition of water in living organisms and environmental effect

Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University have established for the first time the relationship of the elemental composition of water in living organisms with man-induced impacts. The researchers were able to understand which chemical elements are most concentrated in living organs and tissues, as well as to establish a relationship with the environment. 


Photo: The prevalence of the studied chemical elements in the 'biological water' obtained from the organs and tissues of pigs

According to the supervisor of the research, Professor of the TPU Geology Division Leonid Rikhvanov, the elemental composition of nearly all types of water in the hydrosphere was previously studied but no data were obtained on the chemical composition of water in living organisms.

Professor Rikhvanov says:

‘We studied all possible literature published over a long period. It turned out that the elemental composition of the so-called ‘biological water’ is practically not studied. There are quite a lot of studies devoted to the composition of blood, plasma but not water that any living tissue contains in different proportions. For the first time, we succeeded in obtaining data on the presence of chemical elements in ‘biological water’, their level of accumulation, and concentration.’

The scientists used the seven-month-old piglet’s organs and tissues to select fluids, since previous studies on the content of chemical elements in pig’s organs and tissues showed almost complete coincidence with similar data on human organs and tissues. Blood, spleen, liver, kidney, lung, muscle tissue and subcutaneous fat were used for the study. The scientists from Pavlodar State Pedagogical University (Kazakhstan) selected a method for the allocation of water, assembled the installation for the sublimation of water from living tissues.

The technology implies the use of vacuum sublimation when heating organs and tissues to 100 degrees; the liquid begins to evaporate and condenses as a distillate. Then, the identification of the maximum possible number of chemical elements using inductively coupled plasma with mass spectrometry was carried out at the TPU Research Laboratory for Hydrochemistry. Totally 70 chemical elements were detected, 17 of which were below the detection limit.

‘The first interesting conclusion is that water in different tissues and organs varies in its chemical composition and the maximum concentration of elements. For example, 25 elements are accumulated in blood in relation to other organs and tissues, 19 elements are accumulated in the spleen. However, almost all the studied organs and tissues contain sodium, calcium, silicon, potassium, magnesium. The spleen has a high level of potassium, there is a lot of iron in muscles, and barium, bromine, lead, bismuth in the blood,’ 

said Rikhvanov.

The scientists believe that water in living organisms can be successfully used to assess man-induced impacts on the environment and human health.

‘In our study, we used the organs and tissues of an animal from the village of Uspensky, Pavlodar Oblast. This area can be considered as favorable for human life. Now, we are working in the allocation of such water from the materials of an environmentally unfriendly area of the same Pavlodar Oblast... This will allow us to identify areas of environmental distress for people. Data obtained will make it possible to determine how technogenesis affects human bodies directly,’

said TPU professor.

The article Elemental Composition of Biological Water as an Indicator of Technogenesis was published in the Bulletin of the Tomsk Polytechnic University. Geo Assests Engineering. The publication is indexed in the world’s leading analytical Scopus and Web of Science databases.